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  • CDC Reiterates Limits of Opioid Prescribing Guideline

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to make it clear: its guideline on the use of opioids for the treatment of chronic pain is not intended to apply to pain related to cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care. The clarification is consistent with messaging used by APTA in its #ChoosePT opioid awareness campaign and its MoveForwardPT.com consumer-focused website.

    In a February 28, 2019, letter from CDC Chief Medical Officer Deborah Dowell, MD, MPH, the agency restates its intentions around the prescribing guideline, issued in 2016, that recommends nonopioid approaches including physical therapy as a preferred first-line treatment for some—but not all—types of chronic pain.

    "The Guideline was developed to provide recommendations for primary care physicians who prescribe opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care," Dowell writes. "Because of the unique therapeutic goals, and balance of risks and benefits with opioid therapy in such care, clinical practice guidelines specific to cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care should be used to guide treatment and reimbursement decisions regarding use of opioids as part of pain control in these circumstances."

    The letter was written in response to concerns voiced by the National Comprehensive Care Network, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the American Society of Hematology that some payers were balking on paying for opioid prescriptions in circumstances outside the scope of the CDC guidelines.

    Even without the clarification, the original guideline is explicit in its intent, which appears in the first sentence of the document and again when the CDC describes the scope of the guideline and intended audience. Similarly, APTA makes it clear that doctor-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases and has included that message in both its #ChoosePT webpage and its public service announcement related to the opioid crisis.

    "The Guideline is not intended to deny any patients who suffer with chronic pain from opioid therapy as an option for pain management," Dowell writes. "Rather, the Guideline is intended to ensure that clinicians and patients consider all safe and effective treatment options."

    Foundation Announces 2019 Grant Opportunities

    The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (Foundation) now is accepting applications for a host of 2019 Research Grants—including a new mechanism, made possible through a bequest from a lifetime APTA member, that will award up to $360,000 for a 3-year research project.

    The new Goergeny High Impact/High Priority Research Grant is the result of a $1.58 million bequest from the estate of Magdalen and Emil Goergeny. Originally from Hungary, the Goergenys immigrated to the United States in 1960, where Magdalen received physical therapist training and established a practice. The Goergenys' bequest, received after their deaths in 2013, is among the largest personal donations ever received by the Foundation.

    Application deadline for all grants is early August 2019, with 2 grants requiring letters of intent due May 31. Grant opportunities include:

    • Goergeny Research Grant (High Impact/High Priority): Up to $360,000 (2-year total of $240,000 with third year competitive renewal) for research focused on the role of physical therapy in the prevention of secondary health conditions, impairments of body structures and functions, activity limitations, and/or participation restrictions. Interested applicants must submit a letter of intent by May 31, 2019, at noon ET.
    • Magistro Family Foundation Research Grant: $100,000 for a research project investigating physical therapist interventions. Investigators at any level are welcome to apply regardless of funding history. A letter of intent is required; applicants will be invited to submit full applications based on content. Letter of intent is due May 31, 2019, at noon ET. This grant is made possible by the Magistro Family Endowment Fund.
    • Foundation Marquette Challenge Research Grant: $40,000 for an investigator-initiated research project by an emerging investigator. This grant is named in honor of the annual student fundraising effort, the Marquette Challenge.
    • Health Services Research Pipeline Grant: $40,000 awarded to support research that examines how patients obtain physical therapy-related health care, how much that care costs, and outcomes, with an emphasis on the most-effective ways to organize, manage, finance, and deliver high-quality physical therapy-related care while potentially reducing medical errors and improving safety for patients. Investigators at any level are welcome to apply regardless of funding history. This grant is made possible by APTA.
    • Pediatric Research Grant: $40,000 to an emerging investigator for research consistent with the current Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy Research Agenda. This grant is made possible by the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy.
    • Women's Health Research Grant: $40,000 to an emerging investigator for research in abdominal and pelvic health physical therapy that aligns with the mission and vision of the APTA Section on Women’s Health. This grant is made possible by the APTA Section on Women's Health.

    Questions? Email the Foundation, or call 800/875-1378.

    Note: Before starting your funding application, be sure to carefully read all eligibility guidelines, instructions, and information on funding mechanism deadlines. Also, it's a good idea to start the submission process early to allow for potential questions to be answered.